GURKHAS from Hong Kong could be transferred to one of Britain's toughest regiments because British lads are not fit enough to make the grade. Some 400 Gurkhas worldwide have been spared redundancy because of recruitment problems in the British Army. When the Gurkhas leave Hong Kong in November most will go to the Church Crookham base in England. Once there they could be called on to make up numbers in three of Britain's most famous regiments including the Parachute Regiment, the heroes of the Falklands battle of Goose Green. Army sources told the Sunday Morning Post that regiments with a tough reputation faced recruiting problems because British lads were turning to flab. 'People are getting softer,' said one officer. 'We're no longer getting people who've spent the last five years playing rugby. They play video games and eat McDonald's now.' Ministry of Defence spokesman Roger Goodwin said: 'They have got to be extremely fit and extremely tough to join the Parachute Regiment. 'A fact of modern life is that the average level of fitness of young military recruits in Britain isn't anything like it used to be. 'It is now a serious problem with 16 and 17-year-olds. 'Regiments like the Parachute Regiment which require a particularly high level of fitness obviously have more of a problem recruiting.' There are 4,000 Gurkhas worldwide and about 1,000 in Hong Kong. The two other regiments waiting for the Nepalese soldiers are The Royal Scots and the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, which each expect to sign up about 130. Garrison spokesman Major John Herring said: 'It's true we no longer get farm boys who don't bat an eyelid at walking [20 kilometres] before breakfast. 'The youths of today are not as hardy as in the past. But that's by no means the only reason for recruitment problems. 'There might have been a perception that because the British Forces have contracted there is no longer a good career in the forces. That's simply not true, but perhaps the public have seen it that way.' The Ministry of Defence in London confirmed Hong Kong Gurkhas could be flown in to supplement the three regiments once they return to Church Crookham. There would be no integration problems because the soldiers would be employed and operate as separate rifle companies, a spokesman said.